What to look for when buying vintage?

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by charley, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. 54club

    54club Synchromatic

    Mar 31, 2011
    Kelseyville, CA
    Yeah, there are those collectors who search for that "closet queen" and will pay way more than any sane person would. But finding those is really rare and many collectors are willing to pay a bit less for a guitar which has had a well-done neck reset and refret if it is otherwise cherry. It is still collectable though it won't fetch an astronomical price. There are only so many nearly un-played mint examples out there and even a guitar with a reset and refret will eventually increase in value, possibly more percentage wise than that totally original example due to supply and demand. I notice that collectors aren't paying much attention to belt buckle marks anymore.
  2. 6stings

    6stings Friend of Fred

    Aug 14, 2010
    Forget about the cracks, the rotten bindings, the neck reset.
    Be sure it doesn't stink like a dead donkey! :D
  3. jflintmac

    jflintmac Country Gent

    True enough.
    Now then, once you get over the fact that you will likely have to do some work to get her up and running, there's nothing that can quite compare to an old instrument that's been there and done that. Afterall, feeling cool or comfortable or whatever you want to call it - is half of the battle. We can all play a guitar, but actually bonding with one is something special, and so the better we feel, the better we play.
    I can relate to that.

    Finding the right deal is a part of the process and that begins with knowledge. It is hard to bond with a guitar when you know that you paid way too much for it. A little too much is ok. That shows that you really wanted it.

    There is lots out there and you should never rush in. Post the pic's and get as much history as you can from the seller. Expect to have to do some work to make it your own and you shouldn't be disapointed with the guitar that you get.
  4. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    Love you darko ! :D :D
    Moreover you're so true... but IMHO, stink when you open the case is part of vintage guitar embedded value.

  5. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Personally, I don't think buying a vintage Gretsch is all that different from buying any other vintage guitar. Yes,the original QC wasn't quite up to Gibson standards, but 50+ years down the road, you ought to be fairly discriminating when checking out any vintage guitars. No brand is immune to needing occasional neck resets, fretwork, truss rod work, etc. Even binding rot and shrinkage is hardly unique to Gretsch. To me, the most problematic aspect of vintage Gretsches is the post-1957 screw and dowel neck joint. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but when a neck reset is needed, that screw and dowel radically increases the chance that some hack will have butchered it in the process. I say do what you'd do buying any guitar. Play it if possible and you should be able to see, hear or feel any major issues. Otherwise, get lots of pictures and ask the same questions about playability you'd ask about any guitar. Is the action low, or is there room to lower the bridge? Does the truss rod work in both directions? Is the neck joint solid? Has it been reset before and was it a cleanly done job? Are the frets worn down? And of course moreso with Gretsch, are there any cracks in the binding?

    And when in doubt, post pictures and ask questions on forums full of people with experience.
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